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Thread: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

  1. #1
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    Should be interesting to see if the NBA changes their TV deals. Certainly looks like many are interested, which will drive up the rights package. Not sure where I want the NBA to go. Indicates here, that it won't be NBC - I would love that if nothing else for the theme song..

    I don't see the NBA leaving ESPN or TNT, although I could see them add another outlet, most likely it would seem is FOX

    http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2013...hallenge-espn/

    An Early Look at NBA TV Rights: Will Anybody Challenge ESPN?

    After a busy few years of sports TV rights negotiations, only one major league is still available — the NBA.

    The current NBA television deals with ESPN and Turner Sports do not expire until after the 2015-16 season, but the league looms large as the highest-profile property left for bid. Over the past two years, television rights to nearly everything else — the NFL, Olympics, World Cup, Major League Baseball, NHL, NCAA Tournament and college football playoff — have been locked up through the twenties.

    Of the remaining properties, which include the second half of the NASCAR season and the Big East/Catholic 7, only the NBA has the ability to fundamentally change the sports TV landscape.

    That was not the case in the mid-2000s, the last time NBA TV rights became available.

    The league was floundering in television ratings and public perception, and there was little demand among the networks to set aside a few hundred million for TV rights. Incumbents ESPN and Turner Sports, essentially running unopposed, were able to hold onto the rights an additional eight years.

    Today, the NBA is in the midst of a five-year resurgence. Television ratings have broken records on cable in both the regular season and playoffs. On broadcast, where the league failed for years on ABC, ratings have soared back to NBC levels. The last three NBA Finals have averaged a double-digit rating, and four out of the last five NBA Finals have outdrawn the World Series in the same year.

    The league’s improved fortunes are not the biggest change from the mid-2000s. Today, FOX and NBC — which were not even in the conversation when NBA rights were last up for bid — are likely to express perhaps serious interest in acquiring rights. With FOX set to launch two 24-hour sports networks this summer and NBC in desperate need of content for NBC Sports Network, the NBA’s hundreds of hours of game inventory are tantalizing.

    As predicted by Sports Business Journal‘s John Ourand last year, the NBA could also look toward an unconventional outlet such as Google’s YouTube for a game package. That may sound outlandish, but the NBA has never shied away from taking risks — shifting almost entirely to cable in 2002 was proof of that — and the league already has a deal with YouTube through its Developmental League.

    More than three years before the next NBA TV deal goes into effect, here is an early look at the contenders: Fox Sports, NBC, ESPN, Turner, CBS, and Google.


    The Challengers

    Fox Sports Media Group
    Networks FOX, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2
    Do They Need the NBA?
    • Absolutely. Fox Sports 1 may already be off to a good start, but the network will need more content in order to avoid falling into the same abyss as NBC Sports Network. The biggest sporting events on FS1 will air on Saturdays — baseball in the summer and college football in the fall — leaving the rest of the week fairly empty. A Wednesday-Friday package of NBA games would shore up that glaring vulnerability.



    • Acquiring ESPN’s NBA package would kill two birds with one stone — strengthening Fox Sports 1 and weakening ESPN.



    • The NBA is a good match for FOX in terms of attracting younger viewers — certainly a better one than older-skewing Major League Baseball. Last television season, FOX had the youngest median age of the four broadcast networks (46 years old), and easily led the Big Four among adults 18-34. From 2008-11, the median age for the NBA Finals (between 40 and 42 years old) was younger than that of the Super Bowl, the BCS title game, the NCAA Tournament title game, the Stanley Cup Final, the World Series and the Daytona 500. In 2011, the latter two events — staples of the Fox Sports line-up — topped 50 years of age.
    Does The NBA Need Them?
    • It would make little sense for the NBA to move from the sure-thing that is ESPN to newcomer Fox Sports 1. ESPN is in more homes, is the far more established brand, and — most of all — is the go-to location for sports news. While NHL fans have perhaps overstated ESPN’s willingness to ignore leagues with which it does not have a relationship, the fact of that matter is that the NBA risks at least somewhat-reduced coverage on "SportsCenter" if ESPN loses the rights.



    • With that said, FOX could acquire the Turner Sports half of the contract. While that package has fewer regular season games (and still leaves ESPN in the picture), the numerous playoff games would be a boon in April and May. Of course, one then wonders whether the NBA would part ways with a long-tenured partner like TNT.
    Likelihood
    • Early on, Fox Sports looks like the most legitimate contender to steal NBA rights from ESPN or Turner. Chances: 5.5/10

    NBC Sports Group
    Networks NBC, NBC Sports Network
    Do They Need the NBA?
    • More than at any other point since losing the NBA, NBC needs to regain rights to the league. Not so much for the NBC broadcast network, which at least has the NFL and Olympics, but for struggling cable outlet NBC Sports Network.



    • NBCSN desperately needs another sport to go with the NHL. While adding the NBA would not solve NBCSN’s scheduling woes in the summer and early fall, the league would radically improve the network’s flagging television ratings.



    • Keep in mind, however, that NBC has been remarkably passive as of late. It was widely thought that NBCSN ‘needed’ Major League Baseball, and yet NBC passed without much resistance. The network’s big acquisitions in recent years have been second-tier (at least in the U.S.) events such as Formula 1 and the English Premier League. The last time NBC acquired a major sports league was 2005, when the network acquired Sunday night NFL rights.
    Does The NBA Need Them?
    • The NBC broadcast network — a failure in primetime for a decade now — hardly provides a good promotional platform for NBA games. NBCSN, meanwhile, has had well-documented problems with both distribution and attracting a decent audience.



    • While "NBA on NBC" nostalgia appeals to some NBA fans, NBC has nothing to offer that the competing networks can’t provide.
    Likelihood
    • John Tesh’s "Roundball Rock" will continue collecting dust well into the twenties. Chances: 3/10.

    The Incumbents

    ESPN
    Networks ABC, ESPN, ESPN2
    Do They Need the NBA?
    • ESPN could survive without the NBA, but the league has been an important component of the network’s schedule for ten years. Other than college football, the NBA is the only regular sports program on ABC’s schedule.



    • The NBA Finals and BCS (soon to be the college football playoff) are the only major championship events to air on an ESPN network. Moreover, ESPN is completely shut out of the Major League Baseball, NFL and NHL playoffs as well as the NCAA Tournament. While that will change over the next few years — the network will get one baseball playoff game starting in ’14 and will likely get an NFL Wild Card game — the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ will surely want to hold onto one of its few prestigious events.
    Does The NBA Need Them?
    • The NBA needs ESPN more than ESPN needs the NBA. Few may recall, but there was a time when ESPN treated the NBA like a second-class sport — and, not coincidentally, this was also the time when the league was at its weakest. On the day of ABC’s first NBA Finals game, ESPN gave blanket coverage (including a two-hour “SportsCenter” special) to Sammy Sosa‘s corked bat. After the Pacers/Pistons brawl, on-air personalities such as Chris Berman made no secret of their distaste for the league. Until about 2008, ESPN hardly even promoted its own games.



    • It is a chicken-and-egg scenario — which came first, the NBA’s resurgence, or ESPN’s increased attention to the league? No matter what the answer, the NBA would be wise not to give ESPN any reason to turn its attention elsewhere.
    Likelihood
    • Expect ESPN/ABC to continue broadcasting NBA games into the foreseeable future. Chances: 10/10.

    Turner Sports
    Networks TNT, NBA TV
    Do They Need the NBA?
    • The NBA is the crown jewel of the Turner Sports line-up, and the relationship between the two parties stretches back nearly three decades. Thanks to long-term deals with the NCAA Tournament and Major League Baseball, however, Turner could survive the loss of NBA rights.
    Does The NBA Need Them?
    • Turner has been a great partner for the NBA, but the league has shown in the past that it is willing to end a great relationship for more money (see: NBC in 2002). While ESPN’s promotional platform provides a distinct advantage over all challengers, Turner is more vulnerable. For one, Time Warner is the only major media corporation without a 24-hour sports network (Disney has ESPN, Comcast has NBCSN, News Corp. has Fox Sports 1, and CBS Corp. has CBS Sports Network). In addition, TNT and TBS are now in only 13 million more homes than Fox Sports 1 (currently Speed Channel), a gap that could potentially narrow as FS1 gains traction.



    • All of the factors that make the "NBA on TNT" one of the top sports programs on television could, theoretically, be replicated by another partner. Fox Sports — or, less likely, NBC Sports — could easily hire the personnel that have been key to TNT’s success.
    Likelihood
    • Turner Sports is less of a sure thing than ESPN to hold onto NBA rights, but is still more likely than not to hold off FOX and NBC. Chances: 7/10.

    The Dark Horses

    Google
    Networks YouTube
    Do They Need the NBA?
    • An online platform acquiring rights to a major sports league could be — to use the cliche — ‘a game-changer’ for the industry.



    • YouTube already streams live NBA D-League games, a move that could be seen as a precursor to a larger deal.
    Does The NBA Need Them?
    • The NBA has been a trendsetter in the TV rights game for years. The league would likely relish being the first major sports league to sign a rights deal with an online platform.
    Likelihood
    • It is unlikely the NBA would have Google replace any existing partner; instead, the league would probably create a new package of games. That alone makes a Google deal a somewhat more realistic possibility. Chances: 4/10.

    CBS Sports
    Networks CBS, CBSSN
    Do They Need the NBA?
    • Nope.
    Does The NBA Need Them?
    • Nope.
    Likelihood
    • The only way CBS gets back into the NBA game is only if they partner with Turner for a combined bid. The only way Turner makes a combined bid is if the net pursues ESPN’s half of the contract — a fairly unlikely possibility. Chances: 0.5/10.

    (Median age information from Sports Business Journal; FOX demo data from Deadline.com)
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 02-18-2013 at 09:03 AM.

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  3. #2
    yawn cgg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    This could be significant for us. If the TV revenue is projected to go up a lot, it might tempt Simon to pay tax for a year until revenue goes up and takes us back out of it.

    I don't think I even get any of the other channels that are discussed though, so I hope they don't do anything but inflate the value of the contract.

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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    How come the odds add up to 30/10? I get that with ESPN & Turner it could be 20/10 but where does the 30 come from? Is he assuming that a third major outlet is imminent to become part of the deal?

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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    The NBA needs ESPN more than ESPN needs the NBA. Few may recall, but there was a time when ESPN treated the NBA like a second-class sport — and, not coincidentally, this was also the time when the league was at its weakest. On the day of ABC’s first NBA Finals game, ESPN gave blanket coverage (including a two-hour “SportsCenter” special) to Sammy Sosa‘s corked bat. After the Pacers/Pistons brawl, on-air personalities such as Chris Berman made no secret of their distaste for the league. Until about 2008, ESPN hardly even promoted its own games.
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    NBC....even if its just a game of the week Sunday format....I need the NBA on NBC.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    NBC....even if its just a game of the week Sunday format....I need the NBA on NBC.
    I miss NBC's playoff / finals coverage the most. Not a fan of ESPN/ABC's crew...

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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    Please be NBC.

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    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    NBC did an excellent job with the NBA. Only Turner IMHO compares. ESPN/ABC have hurt the product IMO... or at least don't help it any beyond just giving the games a national platform.

    If NBC offered the same production values as before I think the NBA would be better off taking less $$$ from NBC to present its product in a more marketable and entertaining light than what they are getting from ESPN/ABC.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    Just dump ABC's portion out, and add NBC as the main network channel, and that would be awesome. Fox Sports and Comcast I assume will still get the vast majority of the regular season NBA games, TNT can stay on, love Inside the NBA for a good laugh and got solid commentators. ESPN I could do without though as the article says, I really doubt they're going to let go so it's wild speculation.

    Having Game of the Week stuff, playoff games here and there, and the NBA Finals on NBC would rock.
    "It's just unfortunate that we've been penalized so much this year and nothing has happened to the Pistons, the Palace or the city of Detroit," he said. "It's almost like it's always our fault. The league knows it. They should be ashamed of themselves to let the security be as lax as it is around here."

    ----------------- Reggie Miller

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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    ESPN probably really only wants the Heat, Lakers, Bulls, and Knicks games. Maybe NBC would be willing to pony up a reduced amount to get everyone else so they would be on national TV occasionally too.
    BillS

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    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    ESPN probably really only wants the Heat, Lakers, Bulls, and Knicks games. Maybe NBC would be willing to pony up a reduced amount to get everyone else so they would be on national TV occasionally too.
    No, the Sunday afternoon is where it is just the most popular teams. Actually ESPN shows the most diverse number of teams right now

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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    I would love to see NBC and NBC Sports get some games. I like NBC Sports for what they have provided so far and want to see them compete with ESPN. I find ESPN's coverage awful. If we could get NBC Sunday games, maybe some weekday games on NBC Sports and then the rest on TNT, FSN I would be happy.


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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    Google. Keep your eyes on Google.

    In the very near future they'll be launching a subscription TV package (eg you can get Sony Pictures content for $3/month). I don't know which studios/partners are involved yet, but they could get League Pass. I was told PlayStation would be getting League Pass two years ago but it didn't happen.

    I'm all for NBA on NBC taking over ABC/ESPN with Turner still on board. That's my dream scenario, and UB can get his John Tesh theme song back.

    Last edited by imawhat; 02-18-2013 at 02:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    Quote Originally Posted by BillS View Post
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    ESPN probably really only wants the Heat, Lakers, Bulls, and Knicks games. Maybe NBC would be willing to pony up a reduced amount to get everyone else so they would be on national TV occasionally too.
    In fairness though how many Pacers games have been on ESPN vs TNT over the past three years? I don't know the number off of my head but my memory thinks that it's something like 3:1 ration for ESPN


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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    NBC Please (with turner as well)....I can't stand ESPN/ABC, its the music that bothers me the most
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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    Step up NBC!
    "We've got to be very clear about this. We don't want our players hanging around with murderers," said Larry Bird, Pacers president.

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    Default Re: Plenty of interest in NBA TV rights

    I'm not sure where I'd want this to go. Being away from the Indy area, I'm thankful for the coverage on Fox Sports. Although I have to split Pacers games with Grizzlies games because even though I upgraded my cable package, I only get one Fox Sports station. And it normally is based out of Tennessee(Nashville/Memphis).

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